Reports emerging from the battlefield in North Kivu province of neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo indicate that the M23 fighters have overrun various positions of the government troops (FARDC) at Mweso in the territory of Masisi.
According to sources quoted by local Congolese media, the M23 fighters launched attacks from Tuesday morning, progressed and have since taken a good part of the city, said sources from local civil society.
The same sources indicate that the refractory M23 received reinforcement from their strategic positions towards Kyahemba in the Bakombo group but also towards Muhongozi and Kitchanga, taking advantage of the lull observed in recent days.
Meanwhile, a gruesome massacre of 12 villagers hacked to death with machetes has been reported in village of Kimpasi, in Kwilu province’s Bagata territory.
The assailants allegedly attacked on Friday according to the territory’s administrator Amedee Bangambuma.
They first killed 12 people with machetes and then murdered a local administrative official who came to investigate the situation, Bangambuma said.
The closest police station is nearly 100km away.
On Monday, militants also killed Kimpasi’s village chief, the local administrator said, adding that all the victims were members of the Teke community.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Western DRC has seen fighting between Teke and Yaka communities since June, in a conflict first sparked by a dispute over taxes and land.
Members of the Teke community consider themselves the original inhabitants of villages along 200 kilometres of the Congo River. Yaka people settled in the area after the Teke.
The Democratic Republic of Congo’s government says 180 people have been killed in the conflict, although that death toll is considered by aid groups to be conservative.
At least 15 people died in a similar attack on two Teke villages earlier this month.
Tens of thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes, according to the United Nations.